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iPhone 7: Seven reasons not to upgrade

Seven things we hate about iPhone 7

iPhone 7
Apple has finally taken the covers off its evolutionary (not revolutionary, mind you) new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus series. We all knew it was coming and we knew the changes would be incremental. Trust us, no one’s happy that there are no surprises as usual. It’s been like this with Apple’s smartphones during the last few releases.

So the iPhone SE was unexpected. But it was a disappointment from the user point of view and neither was Apple too happy with its reception. That minor hiccup having been addressed, what about the new features of the latest iPhone? Water resistance has been due for a long time and is hence not a talking point. The dual camera system is a welcome addition, as is stereo audio.

Then there’s the advanced A10 processor inside the iPhone 7 variants. Again, this is expected of Apple or any brand selling what is professed to be a flagship, high-end smartphone. When a company charges top dollar for tired reiterations of their handsets, customers want a faster, better and more power efficient chip inside their device.

It’s the least Apple could do since it’s not really interested in delivering what users have been clamoring after for generations of iPhones. Here are a bunch of reasons to stay away from upgrading to the iPhone 7, or switching camp from Android to iOS.

– Same old design

iPhone 7 Design
Apple’s always been so focused on design, you’d think it would have had better ideas for what the iPhone 7 should look like. Since the iPhone 6 was launched in 2014, the company has clung to the same outer build every year. And don’t tell us the smartphone is so aesthetically impeccable, Apple can keep foisting the boring old design on users year after year.

The minor tweaks to the exterior of the iPhone 7 reveal a serious lack of imagination on the part of the company’s design team. Or is it lack of…courage? (Phil Schiller, Senior VP of worldwide marketing, shamelessly proclaimed it was ‘courage’ which allowed Apple to drop the headphone jack; but more on that later). A portion of the antenna lines on the back panel has been erased.

Otherwise, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus look very similar to the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus. The respective models are about the same size and weight, and merely the 7 Plus version stands out because of its dual camera system. There’s a whole bunch of people who buy an iOS handset just to be a part of the hype. They will have little reason to upgrade unless they think anyone’s going to peer too closely at their phone.

– Jet black iPhone 7 scratches easily

Jet black iPhone 7
Jet black iPhone 7 (left) and matte black iPhone 7 (right)

By Apple’s own admission, ‘the high-gloss finish of the jet black iPhone 7 is achieved through a precision nine-step anodization and polishing process. Its surface is equally as hard as other anodized Apple products; however, its high shine may show fine micro-abrasions with use.’ Buyers are advised to cover up their iPhone 7 with a case if they’re concerned about this.

Only the 128GB and 256GB capacities are available in this slick black paint job. The 32GB base model costs $649, while the 128GB one goes for $100 more than this and the 256GB smartphone sells for $849. The iPhone 7 Plus demands $769, $869 and $969 for the 32GB, 128GB and 256GB variants, respectively. There’s no 16GB capacity, by the way.

So not only is Apple charging between $100 to $200 more for the glossy black iPhone 7, it’s also practically guaranteeing you won’t be able to show it off in fully glory because it’s prone to scratches. Those who insist on having a black iPhone can go with the matte finish. Alternately, there are rose gold, gold and silver options to pick from.

– No wireless charging or headphone jack

Apple iPhone 7
Android users have been laughing, albeit with great humility, at iPhone owners for at least a couple of years now. The reason? No wireless charging for iOS devices yet. Maybe it’s because Apple is working on perfecting its proprietary (read: stuff it can make more money from) cable-free charging technology for its smartphones. It’s every company’s business to build its business. And Apple’s unquenchable thirst for profits is legendary.

It’s true that Google ditched support for the Qi wireless standard in its flagship Nexus 5X and 6P handsets in favor of USB Type-C. According to the company, this meant thinner devices, faster charging and one less accessory on your table. Of course, IKEA doesn’t share the same view. As for Apple altogether avoiding the technology even in the iPhone 7, it’s hypocritical considering the enthusiasm with which it booted out the earphone jack.

– One Lightning port, two problems

The inconvenience of not having wireless charging is tied to the absence of a headphone jack in the iPhone 7. There’s just the one Lightning port for powering up your device as well as listening to music. You can’t charge your iPhone and plug in earphones simultaneously unless you attach an adapter to the port in order to accommodate both accessories. This is a big deal for heavy users who’re in the habit of juicing up their iOS smartphone while watching content or listening to songs.

And that’s one extra peripheral to think of when you leave the house. You have to pay money for it and also make sure you never forget to carry it with you wherever you go. No matter what Apple says, the iPhone didn’t need to leave out the earphone jack. Innovation can hardly be measured by how many legacy components the company kicks out of its device, especially when it’s something as ubiquitous as the 3.5mm audio jack.

iPhone 7 Earphone Jack Adapter

Apple’s Phil Schiller said it was courage that held the company’s shaking hand as it plunged a knife into the decades-old earphone jack, a tech which is widely used since it’s open standard, reliable and robust. Then just to be sure you can still use your expensive pair of headphones with the iPhone 7, Apple decided to include an analog-to-Lightning adapter in the box. Schiller forgot to mention how much money the company stands to earn by making this ‘brave’ move.

Forget about burdening customers with an expensive matchstick they’ll have to pay $9 to replace if lost. Now accessory makers will have to shell out a fee to Apple to create compatible products to fit into the iPhone’s Lightning port. As far as Cupertino lets on through the hints its drops, conspiracy theories about DRM control be damned, it’s really about pushing third parties to innovate by removing the need of have the DAC and the amplifier in the handset.

The cost incurred by manufacturers for MFi (Made for iOS) certification for hardware fitting into the 30-pin connector will be passed on to the end user sadly. Apple clearly believes iPhone users are a loyal bunch with plenty of money to spare. The disappearance of the 3.5mm jack also meant that the company could afford more space for the rest of the iPhone 7 series’ internal components and be confident of its water-resistant abilities.

– Same display, no OLED screen

iPhone 7 Display

Apple has still not adopted the AMOLED screens in spite of worthy rivals like Samsung having done so ages ago. The iPhone 7 has a 4.7-inch Retina HD display, while the one on the iPhone 7 Plus measures 5.5-inch. They offer visuals in 1334 x 750p and 1920 x 1080p resolution, respectively. Featuring IPS technology and deeply integrated 3D Touch, the panel is apparently 25% brighter. But colors are hardly going to pop the way they do in OLED screens.

– No microSD card slot, pay heavily for more storage

Hybrid Slot

The iPhone 7 Plus is priced at $769, $869 and $969 for 32GB, 128GB and 256GB, respectively. The iPhone 7 is pegged at $649, $749 and $849, in that order. Apple may argue that the uni-body construct of its smartphone minus redundant ports like the earphone jack and microSD card slot make it more resistant to damage. Samsung manages just fine in spite of including these components along with water-resistance in its flagship Galaxy series.

The result is that hoarders will end up paying much more for on-device storage than if they had the option to insert a microSD SD card into the iPhone 7. But frustratingly enough, it’s always been this way with iPhones. You either cough up a sizeable amount for more local storage or depend on cloud-based locker room for your memory needs. We don’t see Apple visiting the idea of an expansion slot in any future version of its iOS handset.

– No dual SIM/hybrid slot

Apple is keen on expanding its user base in India with more enthusiasm than ever before as iPhone sales remain somewhat unimpressive in mature markets. If there’s one thing Indian consumers seem to love, it’s the ability to juggle between two mobile numbers on one device. We’ve never ever had any iPhone come with dual SIM slots or a hybrid slot. It’s possible that a minor addition like this could find more takers, for all you know.

# AirPods look stupid as hell

Presenting the AirPods: Doesn’t it look like someone Photoshopped the EarPods’ cords out of the image?

What do you say to EarPods with gangrene? ‘You’d make good AirPods someday.’ Strictly speaking, this particular grievance does not have to do with the iPhone 7 directly. But what a ridiculous looking pair of wireless earphones! Apple’s answer to those bemoaning the loss of the headphone jack is a combination of its wired EarPods with an analog-to-Lightning adapter in-the-box. If you’ve got $159 to spare, the AirPods can be all yours from late October onwards.

Sure you don’t have to worry about having no compatible adapter and just one Lightning port for charging your iPhone and listening to music if you have the AirPods. But would you feel comfortable going on a run or in a crowded public space with these $150 wireless accessories hanging off your ears? Not only does it look like someone took a pair of scissors to its cable, it needs to be charged every 5 hours and the accompanying case holds 24 hours of power.

YouTube video

Lol! Check out the dog at 0:36

– Should I upgrade to iPhone 7?

The iPhone 7 will be up for pre-order on September 9 and hit shelves on September 16. The first wave of release will hit the US, the UK, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE and US Virgin Islands.

In India, the base model will start at approximately Rs 60000. The series will be available October 7 onwards. As for the question of whether we think it’s worth upgrading from a 6S/6S Plus or not, it’s a ‘no.’ It would make much sense only to those interested in the dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus. Otherwise, the latest iPhone series is nothing more than an incremental update.